December 7th 2018 – Ephesians 2:11-18

"11Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. "

Ephesians 2:11-18

There is a great challenge in what was said in yesterday's Note, in very practical ways. We could take, for example, the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35, who was forgiven a great debt by his master, but refused to show mercy to a man who owed him a far lesser debt. The unmerciful servant failed to remember the greatness of the mercy that he himself had been shown. It is sometimes like this with those who profess the name of Christ. Sometimes a slight, real or imagined, is suffered; and a deep hurt and resentment grips the heart, and an estrangement takes place which may last for years. Even if it had been real, and not imagined, it is never forgotten, and never forgiven. And even set over against the greatness of the debt that has been cancelled by Christ in the forgiveness wrought in His cross - 'Remember thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord delivered you' - there has been no corresponding or answering generosity over a much smaller matter, like a slight, real or imagined, but only implacable hostility and estrangement. O the tragedy of it, that such resentment and bitterness should persist, when so great mercy has been shown us in Christ! Let us ask ourselves today, do we hold a grudge against anyone? Have we held it for long? For a year or more? Was it really such a great matter, compared with the greatness of the debt we owe to Christ for having saved us? Should there not be some sense of shame creeping into our hearts, as we 'remember' how it once was with us, before we were drawn to Christ and saved by His grace? Is this a word for someone today? Ah, remember how you were once a bondman in Egypt, and be reconciled with your estranged friend. This is the message of the passage before us. Please God it will be heard - and heeded.